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Rogers, Olcott face off in rematch for Texas House District 60

Rogers, Olcott Face-Off In Rematch For Texas House District 60
Rogers, Olcott Face-Off In Rematch For Texas House District 60 03:43

MINERAL WELLS - There's a battle brewing in Mineral Wells, a community once known for its well water with healing properties, and other cities and towns in this rural area west of Fort Worth.

Republicans Glenn Rogers and Mike Olcott are vying for the Texas House District 60 seat in Parker, Palo Pinto, and Stephens counties.

It's a rematch from 2022.

Rogers, a two-term incumbent, beat Olcott by 318 votes two years ago. 

Rogers said, "I'm confident I'll win, I'm confident that people will believe the truth." 

When asked why Republicans should vote for him Rogers said, "Well, there's a number of reasons, certainly I've had more experience, I'm running for my third term. "I have work left to do for this district and I want to continue to do that."

Olcott explained why he believes Republicans should vote for him instead. "We live in a very conservative district; HD 60 and I think my values better reflect the values of this conservative district."

When asked how he would win this time Olcott said, "I won Parker County by ten percentage points, by more than 1,500 votes and I fully expect to expand upon that. I think we have made good head way in Palo Pinto County."

This time, Olcott has the support from the state's most powerful Republican.

Governor Greg Abbott endorsed and campaigned for Olcott last week. "I stand to support Mike Olcott to be your next state representative." 

The Governor acknowledged he backed Rogers two years ago. "I was wrong. When you make a mistake, it's one thing to admit it, it's another thing to step up and correct that mistake."

Olcott told CBS News Texas that he appreciated the Governor's comment. "I thought that spoke volumes about the Governor, being willing to admit that he made a mistake."

What changed from two years ago was that Rogers was one of the nearly two dozen Republicans in the House who voted to strip the taxpayer-financed education savings accounts or vouchers from a comprehensive bill that would have also provided pay raises for teachers and more money for schools.

Rogers said, "It's a single issue endorsement. It doesn't seem to matter about the integrity of the candidate, what their legislative productivity is, it's simply do you support vouchers and I'll endorse you. I think that's unprecedented. "I've been a very strong supporter of his and we differ on this one issue, and he's chosen to endorse my opponent." 

He said he didn't regret taking this position. "Absolutely not. I don't change my positions because of money or power."

Various education organizations have recognized Rogers for his efforts to fight for public school funding and against education savings accounts, ESA's, or vouchers. "I've always been an anti-voucher public school supporter and that's not changed. I support what my district's constituents have told me what they want."

Olcott supports ESA's and said he doesn't believe the private schools and religious schools that would receive students under a state program, should face state accountability standards. "If the parents are sending their kids to any particular private school and they're not performing, that private school will go out of business and so that's the way the free market works."

Olcott has also been endorsed by Attorney General Ken Paxton, Senator Ted Cruz and Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller.

Rogers is backed by county commissioners in Stephens and Palo Pinto Counties and various mayors and school board members in the district.

Both Olcott and Rogers said their top priorities include securing the southern border, providing additional property tax relief, and improving access to water for the district.

Despite these similarities, they differ on how the Texas House should be run.

Olcott has joined some conservatives in the House who say Democrats should no longer be allowed to serve as committee chairs, a practice that Speaker Dade Phelan has continued. "Not only do I oppose it, but more than 90 percent of Texas Republicans oppose it. Not only is it in our platform, the Republican Party of Texas platform, it's also one of the top legislative priorities of the Republican Party of Texas."

But Rogers, like other conservative lawmakers in the House, defends Phelan and his ability to appoint some Democrats as committee chairs. "He has the option, just like the Speaker has always had on selecting who he chooses to be a chair. I don't want us to become like Washington, D.C. where there's just total gridlock. The R's and D's don't even speak to each other, they don't go to dinner together, they don't talk. I don't think that's where we need to go."

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